No one should have to grieve the loss of a loved one alone. Thanks to Sharp HospiceCare's Widows' and Widowers' Support Group, Pat Best and Rose Smith have found that their grief is a little less lonely and the tiniest bit easier to bear.
Best and Smith have been neighbors for several years, but only became close after the deaths of their husbands led them to seek support through Sharp HopiceCare's bereavement support program.
The two ladies joined the eight-week group comprised of men and women who have lost their spouse. Members shared their challenges, learned from one another's experiences and found tools to cope with their loss. Best and Smith also formed a special bond that has helped them heal and provided more than a few adventures and laughs.
"We discussed everything in the group and it was very helpful to be with people who all went through the same thing," says Smith. "If you have a hard day or night, there is always someone who understands and can give you comfort."
The group became very close as they shared the life stories of their spouses and worked through their grief. Friendships blossomed and the gatherings went from just the weekly group meeting to dinners on the town and holiday celebrations.
"I'm not a 'group' person," says Best. "But it really helps to hear others share and I was able to open up. We all became great friends and now our gatherings can get pretty wild. The waitress at the restaurant where we held our Christmas dinner couldn't believe we were a bereavement group, we were having so much fun."
Wild parties aside, the loss of one's spouse presents a myriad of challenges and new experiences. From financial concerns to the drifting of friends who don't know quite what to say to the sheer quietness of a home once filled with conversation and activity, this new life on their own is like being reborn into a whole new world, according to Best and Smith. Both agree their friendship couldn't have come at a better time.
"You know what they say," says Best, "when it's meant to be, it's meant to be."